Bishwa Nath Singh
Guru Amar Das Sahib -the third Guru in Sikhism is known for his advocacy against Sati and widow-remarriage and persuaded women to discard 'Purdah' (veil).One who had introduced new birth, marriage and death ceremonies thus by creating a fence around the infant like Sikhism who had fixed three Guru Purvas for Sikh celebrations: Dewali, Vaisakhi and Maghi
( Photo of Guru Amar Das Sahib)
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Bishwa Nath Singh :
Guru Amar Das was born on at village Basarke Gillan in Amritsar district on Sunday,the 23rd of May 1479. (Some chronicles mention the month of April 1479 ). His father Tej Bhan Bhalla and mother Bakht Kaur also reffered as Sulakhani and Lak...hmi Devi were orhtodox Hindus and used to pay annual visits to the Ganges river at Haridwar. Guru Amardas Sahib was married to Mata Mansa Devi ji on January 8, 1503 and had four childern: two daughters; Bibi Dani ji and Bibi Bhani ji (she was married to Guru Ramdass Sahib), and two sons; Mohan ji and Mohri ji. He began life as a devout Hindu. He grew up to be a devotee of the Hindu deity Vishnu. His brother, Manak Chand had a son, Jasoo, who had married, Amro, Guru Angad Dev's elder daughter. Once Guru Amardas Sahib heard some hyms of Guru Nanak Sahib from Bibi Amro Ji, the daughter of Guru Angad Sahib. He became too much impressed and immediately went to see Guru Angad Sahib at Khadur Sahib. Under the impact of the teachings of Guru Angad Sahib, Guru Amardas Sahib adopted him as his spiritual guide (Guru). Then he started living at Khadur Sahib. He used to rise early in the morning, bring water from the Bias River for Guru's bath and fetch wood from the Jungle for 'Guru ka Langar'. At the age of 61, Amar Das overheard Amro singing the hymns of Nanak and became a follower of Sikhism. Guru Angad Sahib appointed Guru Amardas Sahib as third Nanak in March 1552 at the age of 73. This was a result of his services and devotion to Guru Angad Sahib and his teachings. He established his headquarters at newly built town Goindwal. There he propagated the Sikh faith in a very planned manner. He divided the Sikh Sangat area into 22 preaching centres. (Manjis), each under the charge of a devout Sikh. He himself visited and sent Sikh missionaries to different parts of India to spread Sikhism. He strengthened the tradition of 'Guru ka Langer' and made it compulsory for the visitor to the Guru saying that 'Pehle Pangat Phir Sangat'. Once the emperor Akbar came to see Guru Sahib and he had to eat the coarse rice in the Langar before he could have an interview with Guru Sahib. He was too much impressed from this system and expressed his desire to grant some royal property for 'Guru ka Langar', but Guru Sahib declined it with respect. Guru Amardas Sahib persuaded Akbar to waive off toll-tax (pilgrim's tax) for non-Muslims while crossing Yamuna and Ganga, Akbar did so. Guru Amardas Sahib maintained cordial relations with emperor Akbar. Amar Das had presented himself to Guru Angad Dev in Khadur and became an ardent devotee. He carried firewood and water for the guru's kitchen from Goindwal to Khadur every day. Amar Das had another daughter, Bhani, and two sons, Mohan and Mohri. Guru Angad Dev requested Amar Das to move his family to Goindwal, and stay there nights so that he would have to carry water only once a day to Khadur. Amar Das tirelessly served the Sikh congregation for twelve years. He accepted Guruship humbly on Saturday the 16th of April 1972.His selfless service earned the trust of Guru Angad, who when he died at age of forty eight appointed Amar Das, age seventy three to be his successor, and third guru of the Sikhs.Angad Dev's younger son, Datu, challenged the authority of Guru Amar Das. He told the elder man to leave and then kicked him with his foot demanding how he could be Guru when he had been only an old servant. Guru Amar Das humbly soothed the angry young man replying that his old bones were hard and may have hurt him. Amar Das retreated and shut himself away in deep meditation. He hung a sign on the door giving notice that anyone entering the door was no Sikh of his, nor would be be their Guru. When the Sikhs discovered his whereabouts, they broke through the wall to request their Guru's presence and leadership. Guru Amar Das and Khivi, Angad Dev's widow, worked together to carry on the tradition of langar, free meals served from the guru's communal kitchen. He decreed that all who came to see him should be first fed and implemented the concept of "pangat sangat," nourishment of both body and soul, insisting all people sit together as equal without regard to gender, rank or caste. The Guru uplifted the status of women, and encouraged them to discard the veil. He supported remarriage and denounced the practice of sati, a Hindu custom compelling a widow to be burnt alive on her husband's funeral pyre.During his years of service at Goindwal, Amar Das helped to found a township. When he became guru he moved stopped going to Khadur daily and moved to Goindwal permanently. He constructed a well having 84 steps on the river bank to serve the people's needs for water. The guru also established Manjis, or seats of Sikhism, by province. During his lifetime Guru Amar Das penned 7,500 lines of inspirational poetic verse, including Anand Sahib, which later became part of the scripture in the Guru Granth Sahib. He appointed his son-in-law, Jetha, to be his successor and named him Raam Das, meaning "Servant of God." He preached against Sati and advocated widow-remarriage. He asked the women to discard 'Purdah' (veil). He introduced new birth, marriage and death ceremonies. Thus he created a fence around the infant like Sikhism and there upon met stiff resistance from the Orthodox Hindus and Muslim fundamentalists. He fixed three Gurpurbs for Sikh celebrations: Dewali, Vaisakhi and Maghi. Visiting of Hindu pilgrimage centres and paying tributes to the Muslim places were prohibited.Guru Amardas Sahib constructed Baoli at Goindwal Sahib having eighty-four steps and made it a Sikh pilgrimage centre for the first time in the history of Sikhism. He reproduced more copies of the hymns of Guru Nanak Sahib and Guru Angad Sahib. He also composed 869 (according to some chronicles these were 709) verses (stanzas) including Anand Sahib, and Guru Arjan Sahib made all the Shabads part of Guru Granth Sahib. Guru Amardas Sahib constructed Baoli at Goindwal Sahib having eighty-four steps and made it a Sikh pilgrimage centre for the first time in the history of Sikhism. He reproduced more copies of the hymns of Guru Nanak Sahib and Guru Angad Sahib. He also composed 869 (according to some chronicles these were 709) verses (stanzas) including Anand Sahib, and Guru Arjan Sahib made all the Shabads part of Guru Granth Sahib.He died on Thursday the 16th of September 1574 which is celebrated as Jyoti Jot. Let us join to pay our humble obeisance to His lotus feet and seek His bliss forwell-being of all living-being of this universe!